We call upon the federal government to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, churches, Aboriginal communities, former residential school students, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried. This is to include the provision of appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Previous StatusNov. 9, 2020NOT STARTED
Current StatusAug. 17, 2020NOT STARTED

Why “Not Started”?

The government has been stating for almost two years that they in “discussions with various partners, internal and external to the federal government, towards collaborating on an engagement strategy”. Yet, there are no specifics identifying what the government is doing, with whom, by when, with what budget and with what expected – and realistic – outcomes

Stakeholder Commitments to Preserving Residential School Cemeteries

Alberta

Red Deer Indian Industrial School
Oct. 13, 2019 – Founded in 1892, considered one of the most atrocious examples of the suffering, abuse and neglect rampant in the Canada’s residential school system, the school operated until 1918. The school was plagued by widespread disease, a defective sanitation system that led to further contamination and illness, overcrowding and one of the highest mortality rates of any such school in Canada. About 350 children attended the school. (Toronto Star – Edmonton)

Confirmed GravesEstimated Graves
2050 – 70

July 27, 2020 – A UCalgary researcher is working with a number of partners across Canada to develop a strategy for digitally archiving the physical structures of the few remaining residential schools in Alberta. Two former provincial residential schools — Old Sun Community College and University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills — will be digitally captured by Blackfoot and Cree students working with University of Calgary researchers in archaeology (Dawson), computer science (Dr. Faramarz Samavati, PhD) and geomatics engineering (Dr. Derek Lichti, PhD).

Saskatchewan

Regina Indian Industrial School (RIIS)
July 26, 2017 – (RIIS) Cemetery has been designated a Provincial Heritage Property.  The cemetery grounds contain the graves of approximately 35 children from First Nations and Métis communities in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba who died while attending the school.

Aug. 14, 2018 – A monument to commemorate and honour those who died while attending the Regina Indian Industrial School (RIIS) over 100 years ago was unveiled today. “This plaque is a permanent feature to commemorate the children who passed while attending the school, and acknowledges the impact residential schools had on Saskatchewan peoples and communities.”

Confirmed Graves
35

Muskowekwan Residential School
A Métis archeologist at the University of Alberta working with the Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan may have discovered graves of missing children from the nearby residential school that closed in 1997. “In the records there were 35 children who were unaccounted for, that disappear off the records, and nobody quite knows what happened,” said Kisha Supernant. operated from 1889 to 1997 and stands on the land of the Muskowekwan First Nation, which is trying to save the deteriorating building—one of the last standing residential school buildings in Western Canada—to turn it into a museum.

Confirmed Graves
35
Manitoba

Brandon Indian Residential School
Aug. 28, 2018 – Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs wants the city of Brandon to protect the unmarked graves that are now part of a RV campsite.

Confirmed Graves
51

Official Federal Government Response: Sept, 5, 2019

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada has begun discussions with various partners, internal and external to the federal government, towards collaborating on an engagement strategy to gain a better understanding of the range of Indigenous family and community needs and interests and about how best to move forward in a comprehensive manner on all of the calls to actions regarding children who died or went missing while attending Indian residential schools (Calls to Action 72 to 76).